This Farm-Fresh Salsa Fresca is the perfect mixture of chopped tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, garlic, avocado, jalapeno and a kiss of lime!. Use it with chips, add it to burgers for a fiesta topping, spoon it over chicken or pork. Works great on crackers and in omelettes!
With it finally being spring here in Pittsburgh it’s time to start thinking about cookouts, bbqs and foods. Now in my house, I’m always thinking about food but like most of you, I think the foods we eat vary from season to season. Whether you get 5′ of snow or your temps drop to a cool 70 F during the day in “winter” I think the foods we gravitate towards are often driven by the temperature outside.
For me, with it being warm out, Salsa Fresca is high up on the list of things to make!
So what is Salsa Fresca and how is that different from Pico de gallo and salsa?
It comes down to 2 things really:
- Cook vs. uncooked
- If you were me, you would also argue texture as well so okay, maybe 3 things.
Salsa is Spanish for sauce (tyvm for the time spent in Mexico cooking along with all you amazing chefs!). Salsa can either be cooked or uncooked. Where the biggest thing that sets it apart is that the flavor profiles and ingredients vary from recipe to recipe. Granted most think of salsa as tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro and lime for the most part but salsa verde is made differently (kind of). Plus salsa can be made with fruits as well – like my Pineapple Watermelon Salsa.
Where I say there could be a 3rd difference is the texture of it. Some salsas are smooth, and blended with a good bit of liquid while others are smooth but still have a fair bit of chunks.
Pico de gallo is the same as Salsa Fresca. Salsa Fresca in Spanish means fresh sauce. Where it’s confusing is that there is no ‘sauce’ in it. It’s uncooked, chopped fresh vegetables where each vegetable is chopped so it’s distinctly visible. For the most part, salsa fresca is simply fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, lime, cilantro and salt. I took some liberty with mine and added avocados because well… why not? You’re welcome to omit them but I’ll be honest, I found the addition of them to truly be fantastic!
A recipe you don’t have to cook!
What I love about this recipe is that I can have it done in minutes and that I don’t have to turn on the oven at all! I don’t know about you but in my house we seem to have way more activity with company and last-minute guests. I’m that hostess that has to feed you or at least offer you something.
Sure I have cookie dough balls in the freezer all year round but that means I either have to turn on the oven and bake them for you OR I have to pull out the toaster oven and bake them for you. And let’s be real, in the summer I’m not for baking much. Granted I still do it but I’m at that age where I want to be outside and enjoy the festivities.
This is where the salsa fresca comes into play! With farmer’s markets everywhere and veggie pot containers on our porches, it’s so easy to just grab some items to make this and have it on the table in minutes. It’s also great to get your guests involved to help chop. I mean if they are offering to help, why not let them, right?!
What to serve with Salsa Fresca (pico de gallo)?
Obviously chips. To be completely honest, I’m pretty ambivalent when it comes to the type of chips (from tortilla to corn chips) as I love them all. I’d have to say though, I’m SERIOUSLY crushing HARD on the Mission Organics Tortilla Chips. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a more amazing tortilla chip.
But think outside of the chip. When you’re grilling up some burgers or hotdogs, use this as a topping instead of ketchup and mustard. Want cheese with? Go with Cotija! I also love this on chicken and with shrimp. It’s a great way to add flavor with out adding a ton of fat and calories!
Add it to rice or grains in your healthy bowl along with your protein of choice! Or make a fresh veggie wrap!
One of my personal favs… this recipe plus minced cooked shrimp placed mini phyllo cups topped with a lime crema! I know, right! BTW… you’re totally welcome for that recipe idea. And yes I plan on posting it with real pictures.
Speaking of pictures
What do you think of these pictures? I ask because I took these as a Foodie Bootcamp a few weeks ago that concentrated on food photography, plating and styling. While there, I got to work 1:1 with 2 of the industry’s BEST food photographers out there – Joanie Simon from The Bite Shot and Skyler Burt from We Eat Together. If you recall from my weekly menu post, what I struggled with (and still kind of do) is food styling and plating.
I can’t help it. I’m a thinker. Actually I’m an ANALYZER. It’s the Engineer in me. While creating recipes I can be creative and carefree, when it comes to plating and the like I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over analyze things.
What helped me the most was something Skyler had said to me. He said, “When you are photographing something, you are telling a story. You want it to have flow and meaning; a purpose.” He then had me take a shot of what I styled. It was simply a plate of the chips and salsa fresca; no drinks, no rogue items around the board, just the food. As, well, that’s what I was focusing on as that’s what I thought how it should be.
Next, he showed me by just adding cilantro as a swoosh and maybe a few drinks I was creating a story; a moment. He showed me fluidity and movement in a still image (if that makes sense). To me, it now does.
Joanie then worked with me on the angles, lighting and reassurance. She reassured me that it was OK to not have everything single thing in the picture. That it’s okay if I had 2 glasses on table but in my shot I only get 1 full glass and half of the other. She explained things to me in a way that made it sink in. She made me believe that I do have a design eye and that I’m the only one that’s saying I don’t. I’m the only one stopping me from seeing the creative side. That I have to believe in myself.
The confidence both she and Skyler gave me, in a world where I really struggled is priceless. Plus if you ever get to meet them, they are cool as hell! Seriously, they are good peeps for sure!
Know what else is good?
You guessed it, this Salsa Fresca. Or if you want to call it Pico de gallo you can. All I care is that you make this and make it often as it’s absolutely amazing!
If you love this recipe then you may want to try these others for your summer gatherings!
♥ Chicken Barbacoa Soft Tacos
♥ No Cook Cucumber Ham Rollups
♥ Smoky Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Lime Crema
♥ Chimichurri Sauce
♥ Triple Lemon Sunshine Cookies
♥ Tater Tots and Pulled Pork Sandwich
♥ Super Juicy Greek Turkey Burgers
♥ Chorizo Burgers with Cool Ranch Pepper Sauce
♥ No Cook Pickle Pinwheel Pops
♥ Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa
♥ Bacon Wrapped BBQ Hotdogs
♥ Rainbow Tomato Roasted Corn Salad
♥ Spicy Three Italian Meat Stuffed Banana Peppers
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 of a red onion, cut into small chunks
- 1/2–1 whole jalapeno (seeded and rib removed), finely minced *adjust to your heat liking
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice (~1 whole lime)
- 1 avocado, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a bowl add all of the ingredients, gently mix until combined.
- Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is excellent on top of a grilled burger or spooned over chicken and shrimp. It’s awesome in a healthy rice bowl or as an omelette topping.
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